Research article
Issue: № 8 (50), 2016

Иотова А.И. 

ORCID: 0000-0001-7453-6017, Кандидат искусствоведения, доцент, Мадридский университет Комплутенсе



Музыка, бесспорно, оказывает влияние на общее образование человека. Именно поэтому занятия музыкой присутствуют в учебном плане общего обязательного образования в Испании и Болгарии. Данная статья предлагает обзор соответствия учебного плана университетскому обучению учителей музыки в Испании и Болгарии. Цель исследования состоит в том, чтобы выявить сходства и различия в принципах образовательной политики этих стран. Результаты показали следующее: несмотря на то, что обе страны присоединились к Болонскому процессу, между принципами их политики в сфере образования есть существенные различия

Ключевые слова: учитель, музыка, образование, степень, учебный план, начальная школа, средняя школа, обучение учителей.

Iotova A.I.

ORCID: 0000-0001-7453-6017, PhD in Music Education, associate professor, Complutense University of Madrid



Music and its indisputable practice exert an Influence on the overall education of a person. This is why music education is present in the curriculum of general compulsory education in Spain and Bulgaria. This paper offers an overview of the curriculum corresponding to university training of the music teachers of both Spain and Bulgaria. The objective of the research is to test the similarities and differences in the educational policies of the countries to which it relates. The results have shown that despite both countries being united by the common project of Bologna, there are significant differences between educational policies.

Keywords: teacher, music, education, degree, curriculum, primary school, secondary school, teachers’ training. 1. Introduction

According to me, we could define the musical education as an everyday interpersonal interaction based on joint work on the art of music between adult and child which are mutually enriched by means of interpreting, sharing or creating unique musical experiences. The process of musical education in a child instills important values and active perception of the world and of himself [1]

Music Education as a concept in itself expresses its essence, its existence as such, embodied in two pedagogical attitudes which are interrelated and complementary. On the one hand, the education of music and on the other hand, using music for education purposes [2].

Willems [3] believes that music education is essentially human and serves to awaken and develop the human faculties.

To say that music helps develop a person completely is not anything new. Teaching music is probably the only discipline that simultaneously affects all dimensions of human beings [1].

Cremades [4] says that music has an educational value that contributed to the total development of the person in its three dimensions: physiological, psychological and sociological. The music is involved in the biological or physiological dimensions according Cremades through the rhythm. The rhythmic expression provides a coordination capacity that is reflected in the psychomotor ability of the person.

The development of psychological ability in turn presupposes the development of different skills: intellectual, emotional, moral, cognitive, etc. The child’s identifies the emotions expressed in music, as a path towards the formation of its values. The appropriate music for the capacities of children can be more affective, than persuasion or instruction [1].

The sociological dimension refers to the development of interpersonal intelligence or the ability of each person, that is, the establishment of social relations, and that man is by nature a social being.

Musical activities are an example of social education. For joint interpretations, both instrumental and singing or dancing qualities such as cooperation, responsibility, tolerance and respect are essential. In group work we create emotional bonds between students that help socialization and prevention of exclusion. It is important to distribute the collective leadership classes and create a climate of participatory democracy where students can propose or help establish rules [5].

Meanwhile, Gardner, in his study of the theory of multiple intelligences, 1998, refers to the musical intelligence as one that influences the emotional, spiritual and physical development of human beings. The music, therefore, constitutes intellectual capacity present in every person and a structured way of thinking and working, positively influencing the learning of mathematics, language and spatial skills.

Further support for the importance of music in the development of the person can be found in the UNESCO Declaration [6] which recognizes music as an essential manifestation of culture and the right of all the world’s children to music education and to participate in it, integrating it as part of their education.

Furthermore since its inception in 1953, the ISME (International Society for Music Education) promotes many international meetings (congresses, conferences, seminars…) in order to advance the recognition of the value of music education throughout the world and its establishment in every nation, as well as equal opportunities and the right to a quality musical education.

However, even if all these facts justify the educational value of music, we live in a time of social undervaluation of music education and education policy. The incorporation of music education in the curricula in almost a symbolic way shows their disinterest in musical literacy of the population.

“The educational institution […] has been designed and maintained, and continues to be so in our time by intellectuals and politician rarely considered as a fundamental artistic value. For them, usually the arts stand apart from the serious and important and must remain an accessory, that is, a luxury”[7].

2. Objectives

a)Identify the teacher in charge of music education in Spain and Bulgaria in the schools, Nursery, Primary and Secondary b)Describe and analyze the musical training received by teachers in Spain and Bulgaria. c)Detect the differences and similarities in the curricula at universities in both countries. 3. Legislative Framework

University educational systems in Spain and Bulgaria are adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) They consist of three cycles: Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree and Doctorate. The EHEA is a field of educational organization started in 1999 with the Bologna process. It sought to harmonize the different educational systems in the European Union and provide an effective way of sharing among all students. It is now integrated into the EHEA countries in addition to the 27 EU countries, such as Russia and Turkey to reach a total of 47 participating countries.

To achieve the objectives, the EHEA is based on three pillars:

  1. European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a standard for comparing the study attainment and performance of students of higher education across the European Union and other collaborating European countries. For successfully completed studies, ECTS credits are awarded. One academic year corresponds to 60 ECTS -credits are equivalent to that from 1500 to 1800 hours of study in all countries of respective standard or qualification type and are used to facilitate transfer and progression throughout the Union.From the educational point of view, the consequence is the reduction of hours of class in favor of supervised practice by teachers.
  2. Graduate / Postgraduate structure: Higher education is divided into two cycles, a graduate degree of general guidance and later a specialist postgraduate orientation for masters. It should be highlighted that the principle which articulates this system will be acquisition of skills is more important than the acquisition of knowledge.
  3. Accreditation: The last pillar provides for systems of accreditation, through an internal and an external assessment. Monitor the quality of each training center and its adaptation to the requirements of the European Higher Education.

Current law in force that intends to integrate Spain and Bulgaria to EHDA are:

Spain : the Organic 6/2001 Universities Act [8].

Bulgaria: The Higher Education Law 12/1995 [9]. Note that this law has been amended several times to adapt itself to the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area.

4. Organization of education in Spain and Bulgaria

The organization of school education in Spain and Bulgaria is similar. In both countries it is divided into 3 stages: nursery, primary and secondary. There are some differences in the years corresponding to the nursery and primary education (Table 1). As can be seen in Table 1, Bulgaria primary education begins one year later than in Spain and lasts for a shorter time.


Table 1 - Educational stage

Stage Spain Bulgaria
Nursery 0 – 6 years 0 – 7 years
Primary 6 – 12 years 7 – 11 years
Secondary 12 – 16 years 11 – 16 years

Both in Bulgaria, as in Spain, music education is taught in each of the stages. There are some differences in the way teachers are trained (Table 2). A music specialist for nursery and secondary stages is used in Bulgaria. By contrast, in the primary and secondary stage in Spain.


Table 2 - Requirement of teacher of music in Spain and Bulgaria

Stage Spain Bulgaria
Nursery Bachelors in nursery school Musical pedagogue
Primary Bachelor in primary education with specialization in music Bachelors of nursery and primary education
Secondary Superior Conservatory and Masters in pedagogy Musical pedagogue
  5. Music teacher training of Spain and Bulgaria 5.1 Music teacher training for nursery education

The musical training of teachers in charge of music education in Spain and Bulgaria has substantial differences. We have analyzed the musical training in degrees and later we will discuss the differences and similarities. The results of Spain have been taken from the Complutense University of Madrid (Table3). The results of Bulgaria are taken from Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts Plovdiv (Table 4). The points of analysis include the level of studies, subjects related to music teacher education and hours comprised in each subject. We have also considered the hours of practice during the degree and the presence of musical training in the Final Project.

Table 3 - Nusery teachers’ training  in Spain

Analysis criterias Nursery teacher degree
Level of studies Bachelors (240 ECTS)
Years of study 4
Obligatory subjects for musical education (credits) 1)      Development of Musical Expression 2)      Development of Musical Expression in nursery education
Credits 6 +6 =12
Optional subjects for music (credits) 1)      Songs and Games with Music (4,5) 2)      Active Music Listening (4,5) 3)      Elaboration of Didactic Musical Material (4,5)
Total hours (obligatory + optional) 120 + 135 = 255
Music practice in schools No
Musical presence in Final Work of Degree (FWoD) FWoD Includes all the competences acquired in the degree

Table 4 - Musical training of nursery school teachers in Spain

Analysis criterias Pedagogue of music
Level of studies Bachelors (240 ECTS)
Years of study 4
Obligatory subjects for musical education (credits) Subjects on musical theory 1)      Elementary music theory 2)      History of music I 3)      History of music II 4)      Harmony arrangement I 5)      Harmony arrangement II 6)      Poliphony I 7)      Musical language I 8)      Musical language II 9)      Musical instruments 10)  Arrangement for symphony orchestra 11)  Musical analysis I 12)  Theory of aesthetic music 13)  Folklore music 14)  History of pop and jazz music Subjects on music practice 15)  Specialist instrument /singing I 16)  Specialist instrument /singing II 17)  Specialist instrument /singing III 18)  Obligatory piano I 19)  Obligatory piano II 20)  Obligatory piano III 21)  Obligatory piano IV 22)       Choir director with piano I 23)       Choir director with piano II 24)       Choir director of the course I 25)       Choir director of the course II 26)       Choir director of the course III 27)       Orchestral Conduction with piano 28)       Play from sheet music 29)       Voice positioning I 30)       Obligatory accordion/ or synthesizer Teaching subjects 31)       Teaching of music with practise (15)
Credits 75,5 +65 +15=155,5
Optional subjects for music (credits) Complementary subjects on teaching music 1)      Teaching specialists instrument 2)      Teaching of musical language 3)      Pedagogue practise with school choir 4)      Pedagogue practise of specialists instrument /singing 5)      Pedagogue practise of musical language 6)      Arrangements for the orchestra of woodwind instrument and brass 7)      Teaching of aesthetic music 8)      Teaching for disabled people Complementary subjects for additional training 9)      Choir director with piano III 10)  Orchestral Conduction with piano II 11)  Orquestral Conduction for the orchestra of woodwind instrument and brass 12)  Playing in the students orchestra I 13)  Playing in the students orchestra II 14)  Playing in the students orchestra III 15)  Play specialists instrument/singing IV 16)  Chamber music I 17)  Chamber music II 18)  History of aesthetics of music 19)  Voice positioning II 20)  Acoustic Music 21)  Psychological music and music therapy
Total hours (obligatory + optional) 1550 + 780 = 2330

Musical education is imparted by a generalist teacher in Spain, while in Bulgaria it is imparted by a music specialist.  As we have seen in Tables 3 and 4, the musical education in Bulgaria is much higher than in Spain in areas of the number of subjects, credits and hours. While the Spanish generalist teacher will offer 255 hours of which only 120 are obligatory. In contrast, the specialist music education in Bulgaria, the music students are regarded to receive 1550 mandatory hours and are offered to take part in 780 optional hours. What can be regarded as common, is the level of education and years of study, which in both cases is 4 years.

5.2 Musical training of Primary teachers

Unlike the nursery teacher training in music, the training of primary school teachers changes greatly in both countries (Table 2). In Spain the music teacher is the same teacher but with primary specialization in music during his degree (Table 5). However, in Bulgaria, the specialist figure disappears and music education is carried out by the generalist teacher (Table 6). It should also be mentioned that in Spain there are different university courses for teachers of primary and infant education and those who have obtained one of them can not teach in another level. In contrast, in Bulgaria the nursery and primary teachers study the same degree. It is curious to note that after obtaining his degree, the Primary school teacher can not teach in nursery schools according to the regulations.

The musical training of music teachers in primary is lower in Bulgaria than in Spain unlike the nursery stage. As we can see in Tables 5 and 6, the compulsory subjects are 31.5 credits music content in Spain and only 18 in Bulgaria.

Internships are also more extensive in Spain: 630 hours versus 210 in Bulgaria (Tables 5 and 6).

Practices in both countries develop in 3 stages. The first is observation which involves monitoring, analysis and development of an attitude to the real teaching-learning process of music.

During the second stage, students experience musical activities in the classroom.

The last stage is the most important. It is the longest stage and includes the preparation of students to begin work in primary schools.

Table 5 - Musical training of primary school teachers in Spain

Analysis criterias Primary teacher with specialization in music
Level of studies Bachelors (240 ECTS)
Years of study 4
Obligatory subjects for musical education (credits) 1)       Musical instrument training alone and in groups (6) 2)       Vocal Training and its Application in the Classroom (6) 3)       Musical Audition: Analysis and Methodology (6) 4)       Rhythm, Movement and Dance (6) 5)       Music in Primary Education (7.5)
Credits 6 +6+6+6+7,5=31,5
Optional subjects for music (credits) ---
Total hours (obligatory + optional) 31,5
Music practice in schools 44 credits of 35 hours each = 1540 hours. Or which 630 hours face to face in 3 periods of 90, 90 and 450 (90+90+450=630)
Musical presence in Final Work of Degree (FWoD) 6 credits

Table 6 - Musical training of primary school teachers in Bulgaria

Analysis criterias Nursery and primary school education
Level of studies Bachelors (240 ECTS)
Years of study 4
Obligatory subjects for musical education (credits) 1)       Didactic of the musical education in primary school. (7.5) 2)       Folk music for children. (4.5) 3)       Musical instrument - accordion (6)
Credits 7,5+4,5+6=18
Optional subjects for music (credits) Theory of music (4,5)
Total hours (obligatory + optional) 18+4,5=22,5
Music practice in schools 60+60+90=210 minimum of 30 hours of music  
Musical presence in Final Work of Degree (FWoD) 6        credits
  5.3 Musical training of teachers of Secondary School

Secondary education in Spain is given over four years to students ranging from 12 to 16 years. In Bulgaria this stage starts one year earlier and lasts five years from 11 to 16 (Table 1). In Bulgaria the person in charge of music education is the music teacher, the same who is in charge of nursery stage (Table 4). In Spain, to teach in secondary education one is required to successfully complete the Master Teacher Training in Secondary Education. To access this area of music masters are required to have obtained the title of the Conservatory of Music, any specialty. The Master aims to provide a comprehensive and specific musical pedagogical training with a total of 60 credits. It also includes practice in secondary schools (12 credits) and a research paper to finish the Masters (Table 7).

Despite the difference in curricula in Spain and Bulgaria, Secondary School teachers have points in common: an extensive musical training at the Superior Conservatory also combined with extensive teacher training. The difference is that in Spain this type of teacher can only teach in high school. However the Bulgarian musical educator can teach in nursery schools as well.


Table 7 - Secondary music teacher in Spain

Analysis criterias Professor of music in Secondary School
Level of studies Masters (60 credits)
Years of study 1
Obligatory subjects for musical education (credits) The musical interpretation in the classroom in Secondary Education (5) Didactic of music in Secondary Education (5) The movement and dance music in the classroom (5) Educational innovation and research in the music room (5)
Credits 5+5+5+5=20
Optional subjects for music (credits) -
Total hours (obligatory + optional) 200
Music practice in schools 12 credits
Musical presence in Final Work of Degree (FWoD) Trabajo Fin de Máster de investigación 12 créditos
  6. Conclusions

Bulgaria and Spain organise their higher education in the field of European Higher Education Area. However we have detected substantial differences in university music teacher education. This is probably determined by the different approach of the presence and importance of music in different educational stages. The musical education in Spain is more important in primary and secondary school, having little presence in the nursery school. Just the opposite happens in Bulgaria which places more emphasis in nursery musical education. Music specialists employed in Bulgaria in nursery and Secondary, leaving the primary stage without a specialist. This produces a gap in the music education of children. In future works, we think it necessary to check the musical training at the Conservatory of each country, taking into account what forms part of the musical training for many music teachers. We plan to extend this study to other countries of the European Higher Education Area with the purpose of testing other educational models for music education.


  1. Ivanova, A. (2013): Bases de la educación musical en educación infantil. Sofia: Avangard, 24p. 12p.
  2. Atanasova-Vukova, A. (1995): Para la educación musical en el jardín de infancia. Universidad de Blagoevgrad, 6 p.
  3. Willems, E. (1981). El valor humano de la educación musical. Barcelona: Paidós, 12 p.
  4. Cremades, A. (2006): La educación musical en la educación primaria. Available:;action=display;num=1163779680
  5. Ivanova, A. (2009): Las competencias básicas a través de los sentidos: la música, un valioso instrumento para el desarrollo global y la socialización de las personas. Educación y Futuro. Madrid: CES Don Bosco.
  6. UNESCO (1956): Music in Education. International Conference on the Role and Place of Music in the Education of Youth and Adults. Brussels, 1953. Switzerland: Unesco.
  7. Maneveau, G. (1993): Música y Educación. Madrid: Ediciones Rialp.
  8. The Organic 6/2001 Universities Act:
  9. Sbornik zakonov - APIS, kn. 1/96 g., str. 7; kn. 5/96 g., str. 509; kn. 8/97 g., str. 17; kn. 8/99 g., str. 133; kn. 8/2000 g., str. 49; kn. 6/2002 g., str. 37; kn. 7/2004 g., str. 85; kn. 10/2005, str. 19; kn. 11/2005, str. 173